What Size Sliding Miter Saw Do I Need?

When comparing a lot of different sliding miter saws, you will find that the vast majority of them either have a 10-inch or 12-inch blade, which is standard, but let’s break down the advantages and disadvantages to each.

The 10-inch blade

Spins faster. 12-inch blades tend to spin slower because of their larger radius. And more speed means smoother cuts, so a 10-inch blade that spins at 5000 rpm will create a smoother cut than a 12-inch blade that spins at 4000 rpm. For example, the compact Festool Kapex KS 120 10-inch Sliding Compound Miter Saw delivers a professional and incredibly precise results whether in the workshop or on the job site.

With advanced electronics that include dual laser guides, micro-bevel adjustments, quick-release fences, and easy-to-reference scales, plus a host of other smart features to provide the best, most precise cut. There are dual lasers that accurately and clearly define what will be removed during the cut, and the three-axis adjustment controls make it easy to fine-tune the lasers, which are electrically powered, requiring no batteries.

the center-positioned handle allows ambidextrous cutting, and a two-stage trigger helps prevent accidental triggering. The rotating knob uses a rack and pinion technology to move the counter-spring balanced head. This means that once you set a bevel angle it will stay in place before you engage the dependable bevel lock. Easier to find on the market. 10-inch blades are more prevalent than 12-inch blades, so most likely your local hardware store will have these in ample supply.

This is a great thing to know if you suddenly need to replace your blade and don’t have the time to shop around. More affordable. These are cheaper to buy than 12-inch blades, and the cost to sharpen a 10-inch blade is lower than sharpening the 12-inchers. In addition, a 12-inch blade will require more teeth to get the same quality cut as a 10-inch blade with the same structure. General Physics. Because of its larger size, a 12-inch blade will deflect or wobble easier than a 10-inch blade.

The 12-inch blade

Larger cutting capacity. Ten-inchers can be used to cut up to six inches of material; and for most woodworking projects, this will work just fine. However, if you tend to do a lot of larger projects frequently like decking, then having a 12-inch blade may be best for you. An example of a good 12-inch sliding miter saw is the Bosch GCM12SD 120-Volt 12″ Dual-Bevel Glide Miter Saw.

This 12-inch dual-bevel glide miter saw features a powerful 15-amp motor that delivers a smooth, accurate cutting performance with a space-saving design, exclusive to the Bosch Axial-Glide System.  The square lock fences are pre-aligned to maintain a lifelong accurate cutting. This tool sports a soft-grip handle along with a combination dust chute and vacuum adaptor for best user comfort and a clean operation.

The no-loads speed of this durable saw delivers quick cuts in many different materials, and this tool is compatible with a variety of 12-inch blades with a clear lower guard to provide clear, cut-line visibility. Versatile. Many 12-inch saws will allow you to mount 10-inch blades, which means you can have your cake and eat it too in terms of cutting versatility. Higher tooth speed. 12-inch saws normally have a higher tooth speed, which will mean smoother cuts, which is especially helpful when doing fine woodworking.


Unless you are regularly working on larger, more specialized projects, and really have more of a need for a specific size miter saw, we would recommend going with the 10-inch miter saw for its overall performance with most DIY and professional cutting projects. We hope this article has been helpful in your quest in finding the right size miter saw for your needs, so you can go forth in making that informed decision.

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